Komo language

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Not to be confused with Komo language (Bantu).
Native to Sudan, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia
Region North of Gambella Region, across the EthiopiaSudan border
Native speakers
(10,000 in Sudan cited 1979)[1]
8,500 in Ethiopia (2007 census)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xom
Glottolog komo1258[3]

The Komo language is a Nilo-Saharan language spoken by the Komo people of Ethiopia, Sudan and Southern Sudan. It is a member of the Koman languages. The language is also referred to as Madiin, Koma, South Koma, Central Koma, Gokwom, and Hayahaya.[1] Many individuals from Komo are multilingual because they are in close proximity to Mao, Kwama, and Oromo speakers. Komo is closely related to Kwama, a language spoken by a group who live in the same region of Ethiopia and who also identify themselves as ethnically Komo. Some Komo and Kwama speakers recognize the distinction between the two languages and culture, whereas some people see it as one "ethnolinguistic" community.[4] The 2007 Ethiopian census makes no mention of Kwama, and for this reason its estimate of 8000 Komo speakers may be inaccurate. An older estimate from 1971 places the number of Komo speakers in Ethiopia at 1500.[5] The Komo language has a distinct use of many different aspects of grammar. There are important roles that certain singular or plural nouns, verbs, gender, and expressions have on the structure of the sentences used in the language.[6]


  1. ^ a b Komo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Ethiopia 2007 Census
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Komo (Sudan)". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Jordan, Linda (2011). "Sociolinguistic Survey report of Northern Mao, Kwama, and Komo Speech Varieties of Western Ethiopia". p. 7. 
  5. ^ Otero, Manuel A. "Dual Number in Ethiopian Komo." Nilo-Saharan: Models and Descriptions. By Angelika Mietzner and Anne Storch. Cologne: Rudiger Koppe Verlag, 2015. 123-34. Print.
  6. ^ Otero, Manual A. (2014). "Notes from the Komo language Discover your Grammar Workshop". p. 7. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Siebert, Ralph (2007): Komo language. in: Uhlig, Siegbert (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Vol. 3. Wiesbaden. pp 420–421.
  • Tucker, A. N. and Bryan, M. A. (1956), The Non-Bantu languages of North-Eastern Africa
  • Tucker, A. N. and Bryan, M. A. (1966), Linguistic Analyses: the Non-Bantu Languages of North-Eastern Africa


Otero, M. A. (2014). Notes from the Komo Language Discover Your Grammar Workshop. Addis Ababa: Benishangul-Gumuz Language Development and Multilingual Education Project.

Otero, M. (2015). Nominal morphology and ‘topic’in Ethiopian Komo. Information Structure and Nilotic languages.

Leyew, Z. (2005). Gwama, a little-known endangered language of Ethiopia: A sketch of its grammar and lexicon.

Küspert, K. C. (2015). The Mao and Komo languages in the Begi–Tongo area in Western Ethiopia: Classification, designations, distribution. Linguistic Discovery, 13(1), 1-63.

Jordan, L., Mohammed, H., & Davis, A. (2011). A Sociolinguistic Survey Report of the Northern Mao, Kwama, and Komo Speech Varieties of Western Ethiopia.

Otero, M. A. (2015). On some origin (s) of temporal grammatical material: Komo and Nivaĉle.

Otero, M. A. Topic and Focus constructions in Ethiopian Komo.

Yehualashet, T. (2005). Remarks on the phonology of Kwama/Komo (Nilo-Saharan). LISSAN, 141.

Meckelburg, A. (2015). Slavery, Emacipation, and Memory: Exploratory notes on Western Ethiopia. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1732527418

González-Ruibal, A., Fernández, V. M., & Martínez, V. M. F. (2007). Exhibiting cultures of contact: A museum for Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia. Culture Contact, Cultural Integration and Difference: A Case from Northern Mesopotamia, 61.

External links[edit]